Pastor Hal

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Glory to God in the Lowest

When the angel chorus broke out in praise at the birth of our Savior they sang, “Glory to God in The Highest.”  Their praise was rightly directed to God, who is on high, and to God who deserves the highest praise for the gift of His Son.

But Christmas is also glory to God in the lowest.  Have you ever thought about that?  The phrase isn’t new, many people have explored this idea in many ways.  Here is how I see Christmas as glory to God in the lowest:

Mary and Joseph:  There was nothing high and mighty about either of them.  An engaged couple from a poor town has a rushed wedding because the bride is at least 3 months pregnant.  Doesn’t sound very glorious.  Nazareth was a small town and people talk in a small town.  Angels told both Joseph and Mary that the baby was God in the flesh but that wasn’t the story that was believed by the town.  In John 8 Jesus is tagged as “being born of fornication.”  The family scandal didn’t go away with time.  Glory?  Yes.  Glory in the lowest.  These two young people obeyed God and were submissive to His will and through their actions God was glorified.

The Shepherds:  There was nothing high and mighty about any of them.  They were rough men, away from family, good with clubs and slingshots in order to protect their flocks.  God had His angels sing for a low-end audience.  However, these shepherds knew that God had made news known to them and they went to see the baby.  Their response to seeing the baby was to go and make known the message the angel had conveyed to them, “A Savior has been born.”  Glory?  Yes.  Glory in the lowest.  The first missionaries weren’t seminary trained scholars but shepherds who had experienced the work of God.  God was glorified in their message.

The Son of God in a manger:  There was nothing high and mighty about the location.  No comfortable couch, no linen sheets, no royal attendants and nurses, no plush towels nor bathwater nor perfumes…………. Just a young couple, animals, hay, and the Eternal God wrapped in human flesh.  Glory?  Yes.  Glory in the lowest.  The Son of God started His earthly mission to become our sacrifice for sin.  He didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Glory to God in the lowest.  God’s glory isn’t conditioned on the players in His sovereign plan nor any location.  God’s glory is demonstrated and made visible when His people respond to Him in obedience and faith and trust.

You may be at your very lowest point this Christmas.  Low with grief, low because you don’t have two nickels to rub together, low because you are battling a terminal illness, low because your faith has alienated you from family and friends and you’re lonely, low because_______________ (you fill in the blank).  May I encourage you this Christmas season to say, “God I will respond to you in faith and obedience.”  If you will, there will be glory to God in the lowest because He will glorify Himself in you and through you.  What greater gift could we give Him?

Hallmark Christmas Story

A couple of days ago I put a funny post on my Facebook page.  It is called the Hallmark Christmas Movie Generator.  The point of the post, made quite comically, was that all Hallmark movies follow very similar plots.  Names, ages, and appearances may change but the plots always fall into the same genre.

Why doesn’t the real Christmas story get old?  The plot and the characters never change.  We’ve heard it a million times.  We’ve seen it in movies, we’ve read it in the scriptures, we laughed our way through it at Sunday School Christmas pageants, and we’ve read it around the tree as a family.  Why doesn’t the real Christmas story get old?  The reason is the original Christmas story is the Hallmark Christmas story.

Do you know the definition of Hallmark?  It comes from England.  A Hallmark was a stamp or a mark placed on gold indicating its purity and that the gold was from the Goldsmith’s Company in London.  From there the word came to mean something that was genuine.  Finally it has come to mean any distinguishing feature or characteristic of something or someone.

The first Christmas is the real Hallmark Christmas story.  It is the commitment and marriage of Joseph and Mary in the midst of very hard circumstances.  It is the wonder of the outsiders, the shepherds, being visited by the angelic host.  It is the well to do, the wisemen, giving gifts to a struggling family.  It is under-dog-baby-born-king who troubles the puppet king.  It is the miraculous escape of the hero from the evil villain.  It is the power of God bringing forth the Messiah, the savior of the world.  This story is genuine, pure, the distinguishing proof of the love of God, “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…”

Whether or not you watch Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel isn’t my concern.  I do pray you would read the Hallmark Christmas story as given in the word of God, and fall in love………………with the Savior who came to redeem us.

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